The Maryland Grape Growers Association (MGGA) is pleased to announce the award of over $75,000 in capital assistance funds for the purposes of winegrape vineyard expansion in the State of Maryland. Of the twenty-seven applications received, twenty-two applications were approved from new or existing growers in twelve counties across the state. Frederick County tops the list with 5 growers awarded vineyard assistance funds, followed by Queen Anne's County with 3 awards. Baltimore, Carroll, Dorchester, and Washington Counties each had 2 grower awards, followed by Allegany, Cecil, Harford, Montgomery, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties each with a single grower award.
MGGA received grant funding from the Wine and Grape Promotion Fund for the purposes of educating, marketing, and expanding Maryland's winegrape vineyard industry. The vineyard capital assistance funds are for growers to plant new or expand existing vineyards in the Spring of 2008. Following establishment of the awarded vineyard, growers will be reimbursed $2.00 per vine. Because the intent of the funds is to expand commercial-sized vineyards, the minimum required number of vines for an application to be considered was 650 vines or 1 acre of a single variety. The reimbursement cap was set at 2400 vines in order to award a large and diverse number of applications statewide.
The 2007 vineyard capital assistance awards will add over 37,500 new vines or nearly 50 acres in 2008. Currently, there are approximately 160 acres of non-winery commercial vineyards in addition to over 250 acres of winery-based vineyards in Maryland. The vineyard expansion program will supplement grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Vidal Blanc and other varieties in demand by the state's 26 wineries.